4 options the Carolina Panthers have with Shaq Thompson in 2023

(Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson
(Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson /
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What options do the Carolina Panthers have with outside linebacker Shaq Thompson when the 2022 season comes to a conclusion?

Shaq Thompson‘s importance to the Carolina Panthers is clearly growing. The outside linebacker is one of the team’s longest-serving players and is being counted upon heavily by head coach Matt Rhule to lead a new player-led mentality within the organization in pursuit of progression next season.

There has been a lot to like about Thompson’s contribution on the field since he was appointed one of the team captains. A role the former first-round selection is taking extremely seriously and something that’s had a positive impact on the young players in Carolina’s locker room.

This is a big upcoming campaign for the Panthers and Thompson. Another contract restructure means his salary-cap hit has gone up to a whopping $24.46 million in 2023, which is a substantial sum despite how indispensable he is currently.

With this in mind, here are four options the Panthers have regarding Thompson once the 2022 season comes to an end.

Option No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson /

Carolina Panthers could let Shaq Thompson’s contract run down

Kicking the can down the road has almost become the norm leaguewide in recent years. Teams are more willing to restructure deals than ever before and something that Carolina Panthers have done plenty to put them in a strong position for another potential move at the quarterback position before Week 1 rolls around.

Shaq Thompson might have been overpaid by the previous regime. But another strong campaign in 2022 would leave the Panthers in quite a predicament – not to mention they are projected to be $30 million over the cap in 2023.

Perhaps the front office might decide that the best course of action is to let Thompson’s contract run down and take it from there. Even if it’s going to come with a monumental cap figure.